Orwell Rolls His Eyes (Maybe even his body in the grave)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 at 02:07 PM

George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War, lived through horrific bombings in World War II, and was far from a pacifist.  All of which has led some misguided souls from the right to quote him as though he would be all gung-ho in favor of our little Iraq adventure.

I kind of doubt it...a lot.

Remember that one of Paul Bremmer's first jobs in Iraq, was to issue those proclamations on how Iraq was to operate?  Many of them simply tried to turn Iraq's economy into a mini version of America's current dream of "free market" capitalism for everyone.  Orwell on the free market:

"...a return to 'free' competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because it is more irresponsible, than that of the state.  The trouble with competitions is that somebody wins them. Professor Hayek denies that free capitalism necessarily leads to monopoly, but in practice that is where it has led, and since the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment, the drift towards collectivism is bound to continue if popular opinion has any say in the matter."
    George Orwell, in a review of "The Road to Serfdom" by F.A. Hayek (1944)

Most of America's right wing has tried dilgently to drown out dissent over the war, to paint dissenters as anti-patriotic, anti-American, etc.  Orwell on dissent:
""If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
    George Orwell, Preface to Animal Farm (1946)

The current administration never misses an opportunity to "spin" how things are going in Iraq.  Attacks down?  The insurgency is fading.  Attacks up?  The insurgents are desperate.  Orwell on political speak:
"Political language- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
    George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)

Orwell might also have a tendency to sympathize with Iraqis who watch bombs and missiles rain down from above, having once written ""As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me."
    George Orwell, The Lion And The Unicorn (1941)

And, without further comment, Orwell on imperialism:
"...I would not any longer be a servant of  imperialism. I am against imperialism because I know something about it from the inside."
    George Orwell, "Pacifism and the War," Partisan Review, August-September 1942.